2018 NHL Draft: A look at every player taken in the first round

Yahoo Canada Sports

The first round of the 2018 NHL Draft has wrapped up in Dallas.

Starting with Rasmus Dahlin and ending with Alexander Alexeyev, defencemen were a hot commodity on Day 1 with a record 14 blueliners going off the board.

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Here’s a look at what transpired Friday night:

31. Washington Capitals: D Alexander Alexeyev, Red Deer (WHL)

Scouts say that Alexeyev is a defender capable of playing both ends of the ice. He has a great ability to find open areas of the ice in order to generate offence. He is an average skater but his great vision is a tool he uses regularly.

30. Detroit Red Wings: C Joe Veleno, Drummondville (QMJHL)

Scouts say Veleno is one of the smartest players in the draft. He has great skating abilities and plays with power. He is not a flashy player who offers an elite set of skills, but he is a strong two-way centre.

29. Toronto Maple Leafs: D Rasmus Sandin, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Scouts say that Sandin is a great puck mover, but is by no means flashy. His hockey intelligence allows him to make smart plays. He does not have top-level speed which you would expect from a defenceman of his size, but he is still a good skater with the puck.

28. New York Rangers: D Nils Lundkvist, Lulea (SHL)

Central Scouting’ 14th-ranked European skater, Lundkvist is another smart offensive defenseman taken in the first round of the draft. He’s a confident player that like to jump into the rush.

27. Chicago Blackhawks: D Nicolas Beaudin, Drummondville (QMJHL)

Beaudin is a small, but astute defenseman. Using speed, puck skills and a willingness to join the rush, Beaudin racked up the second-most points among defenders in the QMJHL this past season.

26. Ottawa Senators: D Jacob Bernard-Docker, Okotoks (AJHL)

Bernard-Docker, the CJHL’s defenseman of the year, is a puck mover with strong offensive skills. There’s obviously an element of the unknown given his path, but he’ll soon see a step-up in competition as a commitment to North Dakota.

25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto for picks 29 and 76): W Dominik Bokk, Vaxjo (SHL)

Scouts say Bokk has shown flashes of high-end talent and can be a difference maker in the NHL. He is excellent when he has control of the puck and is able to move very well with it. If not in control of the puck, he can disappear from a game.

24. Minnesota Wild: D Filip Johansson, Leksands (SHL-2)

Johansson has had a successful international career with Sweden. He will need a few more seasons of steady progress overseas to reach his potential as a top-four defenceman in the NHL.

23. Anaheim Ducks: C Isac Lunderstrom, Lulea (SHL)

Scouts say Lundestrom is a hard worker who pays as much attention to detail offensively as he does defensively. His speed is average, but his awareness on the ice helps him make plays in tough situations.

K’Andre Miller poses after being selected 22nd overall by the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
K’Andre Miller poses after being selected 22nd overall by the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

22. New York Rangers (from Ottawa for picks 26 and 48): D K’Andre Miller, USNTDP

Scouts say Miller is one of the best skaters at the defensive position in the draft. He does not shy away from physical confrontations when he is on the ice and has a great set of offensive skills given that he is a converted forward.

21. San Jose Sharks: D Ryan Merkley, Guelph (OHL)

Scouts say Merkley is able to generate offence coming out of his own zone with his excellent passing abilities. Technically he is a great skater who offers great footwork, but he does suffer from a lack of consistency and has been knocked for his defensive play and attitude issues.

20. Los Angeles Kings: C Rasmus Kupari, Karpat (Liiga)

Scouts say Kupari is able to threaten defenders with his quick foot speed. He has the finesse to make plays in difficult situations. One area of improvement for him is to get better at recognizing the situation when he is on the ice.

19. Philadelphia Flyers: C Jay O’Brien, Thayer Academy (HS)

The high school player of the year, O’Brien is somewhat of an unknown given his inexperience against high calibre competition. He has tremendous offensive skills but is certainly a high-risk selection.

18. Columbus Blue Jackets: C Liam Foudy, London (OHL)

Foudy took a gigantic leap in his draft season. A superstar at the Combine, Foudy brings a tremendous athletic skill set. He’s one of the best skaters in the draft and creates with his speed first. TSN’s Craig Button describes him as a “catalyst-type player.”

17. New Jersey Devils: D Ty Smith, Spokane (WHL)

Scouts say Smith has a great ability to run a power play. He is one of the smarter blueliners in the draft and has a great ability to manage the puck. Although he is stronger offensively than defensively, he is still dependable in his own zone.

16. Colorado Avalanche: W Martin Kaut, Pardubice (Czech Extraliga)

Martin Kaut was NHL Central Scouting’s 4th-ranked skater. He’s not an exceptionally gifted offensive player, though he does possess NHL skill and an ability to create. He projects to be a reliable contributor in many situations.

15. Florida Panthers: W Grigori Denisenko, Yaroslavl (MHL)

Scouts say Denisenko is a flashy winger with dynamic ability with the puck. He is not the fastest skater on the ice but still has the ability to use his speed to his advantage. He has struggled with consistency but can be a very dangerous player when on his game.

14. Philadelphia Flyers: W Joel Farabee, USNTDP

Scouts say that Farabee is a very quick and dynamic offensive presence. One of the best parts of his game is his ability to hustle and force opponents to make mistakes. A true playmaker that has great hockey intelligence.

13. Dallas Stars: C Ty Dellandrea, Flint (OHL)

Scouts say Dellandrea is able to use his size and good foot speed to generate offence and create scoring chances. He has a good shot and is strong at both finishing and creating opportunities. He also plays very well in his own zone.

12. New York Islanders: D Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

Scouts say Dobson is able to use his speed and hockey intelligence in order to be one of the better defensive defencemen in the draft. He also has a great awareness which he uses to be a great passer. More of a distributor with the puck than a carrier.

11. New York Islanders: W Oliver Wahlstrom, USNTDP

Scouts say that Wahlstrom is one of the best goal scorers in this draft class. He has good speed, but will not blow anybody away with his skating. He has great awareness and can put himself into high-danger goal-scoring areas.

The Oilers got the big D-man they coveted in London’s Evan Bouchard. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Oilers got the big D-man they coveted in London’s Evan Bouchard. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

10. Edmonton Oilers: D Evan Bouchard, London (OHL)

Scouts say Bouchard has one of the hardest shots in this draft class. He is capable of being a power play quarterback with great vision when he is on the ice. His footwork is just OK and will need to be improved upon at the next level.

9. New York Rangers: W Vitali Kravstov, Chelyabinsk (KHL)

Scouts say Kravstov has a great combination of size and hands. He is able to use his size to get into scoring areas making him a better goal-scorer than a set-up man. He can be used at both centre and on the wing.

8. Chicago Blackhawks: D Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SHL)

Scouts say Boqvist is a good skater with great pucks skills. He has a great hockey which he uses to make plays in the offensive zone. He is a smaller defenceman who will often shy away from physical play.

7. Vancouver Canucks: D Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA)

Scouts say that Hughes is a mobile defenceman who for his age has an excellent ability to move the puck up the ice. Although he has below average size, he is able to use strong positioning to defend.

6. Detroit Red Wings: W Filip Zadina, Halifax (QMJHL)

Scouts say that Zadina is a committed two-way forward. He has the abilities to carve up opposing defences by taking to puck to the net, using his hands to get around guys, or firing off a wrist-shot which is one one of the best in this class.

5. Arizona Coyotes: C Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Scouts say what makes Hayton such an impressive player is his ability to be effective in both ends of the ice. He has great vision and is able to pass the puck amongst the best in this class. If he can take his foot speed to the next level, he could be a very strong player at the next level.

4. Ottawa Senators: W Brady Tkachuk,  Boston University (NCAA) 

Scouts say Tkachuk is a player who can be trusted in all situations. He has developed into a great playmaker and can make things happen by using his size and frame to be physical. Tkachuk is a strong player with or away from the puck.

3. Montreal Canadiens: C Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Liiga)

Scouts say Kotkaniemi has the ability to play either the wing or centre. He has a good set of hands which makes him more of a playmaker than a finisher. How he plays in his own zone has room for improvement.

2. Carolina Hurricanes: W Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie (OHL)

Scouts say that Svechnikov is a very good skater and already has the size to compete in the NHL. While he is one of the better goal scorers in this class, he is also a tremendous passer.

1. Buffalo Sabres: D Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda HC (SHL)

Scouts say that Dahlin is one of the finest skaters to enter the draft at the defensive position. He is a smart player who is capable of making an impact in all three zones. Has the potential to be a defensive cornerstone on any team.


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